A seasoned disability and association professional, Merrill was selected to serve as ANCOR’s Chief Executive Officer in November 2014, concluding a national search by the ANCOR Board of Directors. Merrill, who had previously served as ANCOR's Vice President for Public Policy, has been involved in disability issues since 1992 as an advocate, state legislator and attorney for people with disabilities and the providers who serve them. At ANCOR, she has led the development and implementation of all aspects of ANCOR's public policy agenda, representing ANCOR's diverse membership of private providers of services for people with disabilities before federal and state policy makers, while keeping ANCOR members fully apprised of the impact of critical system changes and providing guidance and technical assistance.
Prior to joining ANCOR, Merrill was the Director of Government Relations for the MENTOR Network, a national network of community health and human services providers headquartered in Boston. Elected to ANCOR's Board of Directors in 2010, Barbara co-chaired ANCOR's Government Relations Committee prior to joining ANCOR's professional staff. A native of the state of Maine, she brings over 20 years' experience working with associations. She has represented a variety of clients, including psychologists, NAMI-Maine, nursing facilities, and providers of services to people with disabilities. She successfully orchestrated the passage of legislation in Maine to increase wages for Direct Support Professionals, and Maine’s Mental Health Parity law, and in 2002, became the first Executive Director of the Maine Association for Community Service Providers. Barbara left private practice in 2004 to serve in Maine’s House of Representatives, and in 2005 ran for Governor of Maine as an Independent, earning the loser’s prize of hosting Inside Maine, a political talk show aired on Maine’s most popular talk radio station.